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The S3TC Patent Might Be Invalid

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  • The S3TC Patent Might Be Invalid

    Phoronix: The S3TC Patent Might Be Invalid

    Here's another interesting thing from XDC2011 Chicago... While talking with Intel's Ian Romanick after lunch about OpenGL 3.0 support for Mesa, he mentions that the S3TC patent is invalid (or he thinks so) and could soon be enabled in Mesa...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=OTkxMQ

  • #2
    wow impressive! and now the floating point HDR graphic patent to and openGL3 is free to use LOL

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Qaridarium View Post
      wow impressive! and now the floating point HDR graphic patent to and openGL3 is free to use LOL
      Yes, once the patent(s) in question are indeed proven invalid then its good to go. Would be good to see the floating point HDR one get shot down too. Not sure if there's a final ruling yet but we got to wait and see

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      • #4
        What does it mean that patents are invalid? Someone has used the technology before it was patented or what?
        Why GPU vendors didn't invalidated the patent in the first place, and preffered to pay license?

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        • #5
          Because always is cheaper to pay royalties than engage a fight in a court to invalidate a patent.

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          • #6
            If this proves to be true, a huge (mental) blocker for the open-source graphics world has been removed! Finally the bikeshedding can stop

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            • #7
              Originally posted by stargeizer View Post
              Because always is cheaper to pay royalties than engage a fight in a court to invalidate a patent.
              How pitty!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by stargeizer View Post
                Because always is cheaper to pay royalties than engage a fight in a court to invalidate a patent.
                It is sometimes worse. If you invalidate a patent, you incur some cost and your competitors don't but if you pay royalty, your competitors might have to patent royalty too since you established precedent and hence it might be a strategic move rather than purely a economical move to keep paying royalty for a patent you know might just be bogus. This is not unusual.

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                • #9
                  When chatting with Ian, he mentions that in the past month or two that the S3TC patent was marked as invalid. This was evidently marked invalid in the HTC, which recently acquired S3 Graphics, and Apple patent battle. However, I haven't heard of this previously nor has Google.
                  It was pretty widely talked about. HTC bought the company which owned the patent for a bunch of money and sued Apple over it, and Apple won some battle to have it invalidated in the US which left HTC with basically nothing for the money they spent.

                  I wasn't sure the patent in question actually covered the entire use of S3TC or if it was some partial use, and I also don't know what the status is overseas. But maybe that doesn't matter if it's thrown out in the US.

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                  • #10
                    To hell with patents‼

                    Originally posted by RahulSundaram View Post
                    Originally posted by stargeizer View Post
                    Because always is cheaper to pay royalties than engage a fight in a court to invalidate a patent.
                    It is sometimes worse. If you invalidate a patent, you incur some cost and your competitors don't but if you pay royalty, your competitors might have to patent royalty too since you established precedent and hence it might be a strategic move rather than purely a economical move to keep paying royalty for a patent you know might just be bogus. This is not unusual.
                    Aren't patents just great? How the hell is all this mess supposed to support progress, which was the original intention when the concept of patents was introduced⁈ Does anyone else here think that patents have outlived their usefulness a very long time ago?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by »John« View Post
                      Aren't patents just great?
                      Sure they are great, they allow small businesses to profit from their products rather than getting shafted when large multi-nationals come in and clone their products.

                      How the hell is all this mess supposed to support progress, which was the original intention when the concept of patents was introduced⁈
                      Ask the judge that told the USPTO that mice were patentable (against the USPTO's wishes).

                      Does anyone else here think that patents have outlived their usefulness a very long time ago?
                      Not at all, but the system does need to be reformed to prevent certain kinds of patents.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by »John« View Post
                        Aren't patents just great? How the hell is all this mess supposed to support progress, which was the original intention when the concept of patents was introduced⁈ Does anyone else here think that patents have outlived their usefulness a very long time ago?
                        To be fair, I think some patents are useful. It's just the business-method patents, and most software patents that are evil. If you read the original patent laws, I don't think most of these are actually valid patents to begin with, but unfortunately judges have disagreed.

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                        • #13
                          I'm not convinced patents are useful at all. Really, there are enough incentives already, like being the first to market or raising funds through a variety of means (even donations or pledges). What patents do instead is create an opportunity for excess profits by stifling competition, effectively enacting a monopoly. They might also reduce incentives for innovation, if it proves some new technology builds upon patented ideas.

                          So I don't really get this "some patents are ok" thing. Do they become evil once they visibly step on your toes?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Eduard Munteanu View Post
                            I'm not convinced patents are useful at all. Really, there are enough incentives already, like being the first to market or raising funds through a variety of means (even donations or pledges). What patents do instead is create an opportunity for excess profits by stifling competition, effectively enacting a monopoly. They might also reduce incentives for innovation, if it proves some new technology builds upon patented ideas.

                            So I don't really get this "some patents are ok" thing. Do they become evil once they visibly step on your toes?
                            I largely agree, software patents should be abolished. Its on the level of patenting a plot in a book. If you could do that you'd get to the point where you couldn't write a story without violating several patents. I wouldn't go as far as saying all patents should be abolished but its clearly standing it the way of progress as far as software's concerned.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Eduard Munteanu View Post
                              I'm not convinced patents are useful at all. Really, there are enough incentives already, like being the first to market or raising funds through a variety of means (even donations or pledges). What patents do instead is create an opportunity for excess profits by stifling competition, effectively enacting a monopoly. They might also reduce incentives for innovation, if it proves some new technology builds upon patented ideas.

                              So I don't really get this "some patents are ok" thing. Do they become evil once they visibly step on your toes?
                              20 years is FOREVER in the software industry, which makes the problem especially noticeable. One thing patents traditionally do is incentivize companies to publish their work publicly for others to take advantage of - rather than trying to keep it secret. And really, if something is genuinely a real breakthrough and not just a minor modification to something that already exists or a math theorem, then i have no problem with giving them a window to take advantage of that before other companies swoop in.

                              The problem is with all the generic patents that cover everything, and the patents that cover obvious things that many people would inevitably come up with as soon as they start working in that field. That's a job for major patent reform, not necessarily abolishing them altogether.

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